Kirklees Fostering and Adoption service.
ITEM ONE. INTRODUCTION.
Could you give a home to someone else’s child?
Be there for them when they need you?
Be the one who gives them love and attention?
Be a shoulder to cry on; listening to their problems ..
.. and sharing their successes?
The one who guides and advises them.
Someone to look up to.
Could you be somebody’s hero?
A foster carer?
ITEM TWO. FOSTER CARERS - AND WHY THEY ARE NEEDED.
Growing up in a loving home, surrounded by a caring and capable family is the ideal start in life. But sometimes, for some children, life at home is not ideal.
Many of the children who need fostering have experienced difficulties in their families as their lives have been affected by drug or alcohol misuse, financial pressures, violence or abuse
Whatever the reason, circumstances at home may mean that it’s best if children spend some time away from their birth families. Maybe for a few weeks, months or sometimes years
Fostering can be an emergency response to a crisis, or part of a plan to give the child’s family a break from caring.
Most often it is either a short term looking after children for a number of months or years until a decision is made about their future- or long term- where a child is looked after until they reach independence
Long-term fostering may be needed when attempts to return children to their birth families have failed. Younger children in that situation may eventually need to be adopted – and they’ll stay in foster care until that can be arranged.
Older children may not want to be adopted, and will stay with foster carers until they’re 18 and able to fend for themselves.
Some children who need fostering might have a physical, learning disability or medical needs
Others may have brothers or sisters – and ideally they would all be fostered together.
There’s no such thing as a typical child in need of fostering – they come from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures, and they range from new-born babies right through to teenagers.
Children with very different needs, lots of different circumstances … but the need remains the same – a safe and secure home with someone who will take care of them and give them the love and attention that all children deserve.
Someone sensitive to the fact that they’re at a difficult stage in their lives, and may have complicated issues to deal with. Someone who will help them stay in contact with their birth families, without passing judgement. Who can cope well in a crisis and be a real tower of strength for a vulnerable child.
…Perhaps that someone could be you
ITEM THREE. WHO CAN FOSTER?
As the population grows – so, too, does the need for foster carers. And just as there’s no such thing as a typical fostered child, so there’s no such person as a typical foster carer.
They may have children of their own, or they may not.
They may be single or part of a couple, of either sex
They may be in work, unemployed or retired; own their own home, or rent one.
There are foster carers of all ages and from different backgrounds. They belong to all ethnic groups and cultures, have religious beliefs of all kinds - or none at all.
However what age a foster carer is they need to be able to demonstrate some experience caring for children.
Foster carers need to be confident in reading, writing and speaking English to complete the training on offer and give a fostered child the support they need in all aspects of their life.
What’s important is that they have space in their life and space in their home for a child who needs a family.
They will need to be patient and understanding, calm and capable - able to meet a child’s individual needs and cope with any emotional and behavioural issues they may have.
Not everyone is suited to being a foster carer – but an awful lot of people are. There are some practical requirements for you to consider:
Foster children should have their own room – some space of their own -although under some circumstances, they may be able to share with a child of the same sex.
The main carer in a fostering family would not be able to work outside the home for more than 18 hours per week and would need to be available before and after school and during school holidays.
If you were caring for a baby, either yourself, or your partner if you have one, would need to be available all of the time.
If you have a job, you must be able to fit it in with the child’s needs. You’d be giving them full-time care, and would need to be there for them before and after school, and in the holidays.
If you’ve got children of your own, you’ll need to think about the effect that fostering might have on them.
We advise that the foster child should be 2-3 years below the age of your own children, to ensure all their needs can be met.
Foster carers are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job .. whether looking after different children for just a few months, or caring for the same children for many years.
It’s a demanding, but very rewarding job. And you’d get plenty of support and training to help you deal with the challenges you’d face.
ITEM FOUR. SUPPORT FOR FOSTER CARERS.
Fostering a child is not the same as adopting one, where you take on sole legal responsibility for them. As a foster carer, you’d be working as part of a team, sharing responsibility for the child with the birth parents and the local authority.
At Kirklees Council, we provide all the training and support our foster carers need in order to do the job. The training programme is tailored to suit each person’s individual needs; it equips them to deal with situations they are likely to face as carers – and can lead on to other things. Some foster carers go on to gain a nationally-recognised qualification which can be the first step on the road to a career in social caring.
All of our foster carers have their own supervising social worker – someone who supervises them in their fostering task. They will visit regularly to see how they are getting on, talk over any problems and help with things like writing reports and dealing with the other people involved in the care of the child.
There are also local support groups offering practical advice, useful information, training opportunities and the chance to get together with other foster carers to share experiences and maybe pick up a few helpful tips. The Kirklees Fostering Network even provides a 24-hour help line staffed by experienced foster carers. The support available also includes access to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services, educational professionals and legal services. Our foster carers are definitely not left to cope on their own!
And, of course, we make sure they don’t lose out financially. It costs money to bring up a child, so every foster carer gets a weekly allowance in recognition of the invaluable work they do, and to cover things like food, clothes, travel and other expenses incurred in looking after the children in their care.
With ongoing training and development, experienced foster carers will receive additional payments to recognise the skills they bring to the fostering and caring for children.
Providing a safe, loving home for a child who needs one is a team effort, but the spearhead of that team – the one on the front line – is the foster carer. We never forget that, so we do everything we can to help and support them, letting them know we’re behind them all the way.
It’s the least we can do for someone doing an extraordinary job .. working to become somebody’s hero.
If you’d like to know more about fostering …
Please contact the Fostering Team at Kirklees by phoning our freephone number
0800 389 0086
You can also email the Team at
or visit our website